Sunday, 18 May 2014

It’s All a Matter of Choice …

Oh, the lure of the ring!  The Cruising Ring that is.  We are currently on a section of The Four Counties Ring.

I do ‘get it’ – I really do.  To cruise a circular route has most definitely got an enormous appeal.  Hey, I’m one of those who likes circular walks – I can’t stand having to come back the same way that I’ve gone!  So, yes, circular routes are great.

BUT ….. The Four Counties Ring in a week?  Actually, hirers don’t have a full week – it’s more like 6 days by the time hand-over and hand-back have been accomplished.  The Four Counties Ring in 6 days?  Clearly it can be done because we’ve met hirers who are doing just that but they tell me that they are having to be on the move for 10 hours a day in order to ensure they are back on time.  Ah!  So that’s why boats are passing us at 7am and 7.30pm!

I’m sure there’s an enormous sense of achievement at the end of it and I do appreciate that when you’ve spent a lot of money on hiring a boat you want to be making full use of it – not mooching around little villages or sitting sunning yourself on the tow path but ……………….. 10 hours cruising a day?  It’s just not for me.  Just as well we’re all different.  Each to their own.

What about the hawthorn blossom this Spring?  It’s spectacular!  Is it always as lovely as this?  Have I just failed to appreciate it in past years?


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We’ve been on The Shroppie several times before but I have most certainly failed to appreciate just how magnificent the balustraded Avenue Bridge actually is.  Bridges over the canal are not usually as ornate as this one!  It carries a driveway to Chillington Hall and was constructed for the rich landowners of the time who would only allow permission for the waterway to cross their land if such a structure was built for them.  Today, it’s in a bit of a sorry state of repair – such a shame because it’s definitely rather special.  I don’t know anything about the present state of Chillington Hall itself – is it still there?  Is it still owned by wealthy people?  If so  you’d think …………………….?

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We’ve had a couple of disastrous walks of late.  One near Wheaton Aston where, in places, the bridle path was more akin to an Amazonian swamp and another where the farmer, much to our annoyance, won!  We couldn’t get through the thick hedge and barbed wire where there should, according to our map, have been access.

Lola doesn’t care! She’s a happy boater, walker and splish-splosher ………  The sun’s out, John’s in his shorts (!) embarking on the task of making a new boarding plank.  All is well. xxoo

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